Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ex-Bobcats do in former club

Two former Bobcats came back to haunt the team Thursday night.

Steve Fowler, the manager that led Marion onto the field in its first three seasons, opened at two-game series at Gordon Blue Guess Field Thursday with 4-3 win over his former team as the first-year manager of the Owensboro Oilers. The game-winning hit was provided an ex-Bobcat shortshop under Fowler, Drew Barrett.

The Oilers (9-10) jumped out to an early one-run lead with a score in the first inning and added two more in the seventh to take a 3-0 lead of Marion (11-6, 12-6 overall). But the Bobcats stormed back in the home half of the inning to tie the game on a two-RBI single from Cody Kottich and a Tyler Bailey score on a double steal. Owensboro answered, however, with an RBI hit off the bat of Barrett.

Vander Ark
In the last frame of the contest, the Bobcats were able to get the tying run to third, but Owensboro's bullpen left Cody Schmitt stranded on third and the Bobcats with a loss in the second game of a long four-game homestand.

Starter Josh Anders gave up only one earned run of the three he allowed through 6 2/3 innings. Stephen Glaze (0-1) took the loss after getting only two outs. Kottich and Kyle Vander Ark each had two hits, and the Marion's defense turned three double plays to counter two fielding miscues.

Click here for box score.

Fulton 8, Tradewater 4
The Railroaders chased and tied the Pirates through almost fives innings before finally taking a lead and preserving an 8-4 win.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bobcats start dry spell with win

When the Bobcats finally got a break in the weather to return to the field, they returned in grand style, scoring eight times and shutting out Fulton Wednesday at Guess Field.

Marion (11-5, 12-5 overall) has been idle five days due to rainouts both at home and away. In fact, in those five days, six attempts at ballgames have been quashed by Mother Nature. But Wednesday, the bats and arms of the teams seemed to have benefited from the time off, making an almost perfect return to action.

Hall
The Bobcats were efficient at the plate, with their eight runs coming on six hits, while starter Zach Hall with some help from Marion native Alex Wood and the bullpen held the Railroaders to three hits en route to the staff's first shutout of the season. The defense was also flawless in the field, as compared to the four errors committed by Fulton.

The offense exploded for five runs in the second inning, scoring an RBI single by Landon Weitekamp and a grand slam off the bat of A.J. Dokey, his second home run—though initial league home run, with the first shot coming in interleague action—and the first bases-clearing hit this year for the Bobcats. Marion added a run in the third and two more in the sixth.

Hall (2-1) kept Fulton batters guessing all night, striking out 13 in only seven innings pitched, including retiring the side on strikes in the second, fifth and seventh innings. Earning the win, Hall has now struck out 31 batters in 22 innings pitched. His strikeout total was tops in the league at the close of the ballgame.

Wood came on in the eighth, striking out one, and Daniel Szathmary pitched the last frame, setting the Railroaders down in order with two strikeouts and a fly ball. The bullpen didn't allow a hit. All total, Bobcat pitchers fanned 16 Railroaders, a team high for this year.

Dokey's one hit was more than enough for Marion to strengthen their hold on first place, but Cameron Chestnut added two hits and an RBI. Caleb Eickhoff, Desmond Roberts, Taylor Banks and Jake Hirniak also added hits.

Click here for box score.

Tradewater 7, Owensboro 0
The second-place Pirates kept pace with Marion with their own shutout Wednesday, downing Owensboro 7-0. Tradewater (9-9) is three games in back of Marion. Owensboro (8-10) rests at four back and Fulton (7-11) at five.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Yet another game postponed

The weather again has created field conditions in Fulton unsuitable for playing.  The game for tonight has been rescheduled as part of a doubleheader to be played this Sunday at Fulton.  Each game will be seven innings each and the first game will start at 5 p.m.

Owensboro 2, Tradewater 1
Owensboro moved into a second-place tie with Tradewater three games in back of Marion with a 2-1 win Tuesday over the Pirates.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rain, rain, go away!

It seems Tradewater and Marion just weren't meant to play one another.

The rivals were once again rained out on Monday night, a scheduled make-up to salvage at least one game of a three-game series postponed since Friday. The league had planned for the teams to meet tonight at Guess Field to play one of the two games of double header in Marion washed out on Sunday. Already, Saturday's game at Riverside Park had been postponed due to weather.

Altogether, Tradewater and Marion have four rain dates to reschedule. Only one has been set, a home date a Guess Field on July 11, originally an open date on the schedule for both teams. The Bobcats have two more with Owensboro to make up—one on July 10 and another to be determined later.

Every Ohio Valley League match-up except Marion-Fulton owe one anther a make-up date. Ironically, the Bobcats are slated to travel Tuesday to Lohaus Field in Fulton. Fulton returns the favor as a guest at Marion on Wednesday.

Tonight's game pushed back 1 hour

Tonight's scheduled game against Tradewater at Guess Field will still take place despite today's rains, but will start one hour late. First pitch will now be at 8:05 p.m., if no further rain falls in Marion.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Double header postponed

Today's double header with Tradewater at Guess Field has been postponed and rescheduled in part as a single home game Monday at 7:05 p.m.

Also postponed was Fulton's double header with Owensboro.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fulton creeping out of cellar

Fulton 5, Owensboro 4
The Railroaders nipped Owensboro Saturday by the score of 5-4 to move within a half-game of third place in the Ohio Valley League. Fulton (7-10) scored all of their runs in the third inning, and was able to fend off Owensboro (7-9) rallies in the fourth and fifth innings.

Game at Riverside Park postponed

Tonight's contest at Riverside Park in Dawson Springs has been postponed due to another day of heavy rains. No make-up date has been scheduled as of yet.

Tonight's rainout makes the fourth postponement of Marion's season yet to be played.

Sunday's double header against Tradewater is still set to begin at 2:05 p.m. at Gordon Blue Guess Field.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pitching staff helps end 2-game skid

The league-leading Bobcats knocked off the rust Friday with a tight 2-1 win at Fulton after dropping two straight games following a five-day layoff.

Edwards
Marion's pitching staff came to the rescue of a struggling offense that has been outscored 12-5 in the last three contests. Starter Andrew Edwards moved his record to 2-0 with a one-run, three-hit effort in 6 1/3 innings. The bullpen, as it has regularly this year, continued to keep Fulton's hitters mystified, allowing only one hit the rest of the way.

Closer Matt Vollenwieder pitched the ninth to hold the 2-1 lead and pick up his eighth save of the season, tying his manager's old team record. Kyle Medley, the rookie manager of the Bobcats, set the saves record in 2008, Marion's debut season. Though one of Vollenweider's saves came in interleague play and is not reflected in Ohio Valley League stats, he is still atop all other closers with seven league saves.

On any other night, Fulton's B.J. Sieverding (1-2) would have probably walked away with a win after throwing eight innings of two-run ball. But one of the five hits he allowed gave Marion's Caleb Eickhoff a two-RBI single in the fourth, giving the Bobcats all they would need to split the two-game series with Fulton and hand Sieverding the loss.

The Railroaders' only score came in the home half of the sixth when hot-hitting Kahtan Al-Kaissy contributed an RBI single. Al-Kaissy was 5-for-7 with four RBI in the series with Bobcats.

Marion's offense managed as many walks as hits against Fulton. Cody Kottich reached base three times in four trips to the plate with two walks and a hit. Desmond Roberts also drew two walks. Eickhoff struggled on the night with three strikeouts, but made the only time he put the ball in play count with the game-winning hit. Also adding hits—all singles—were A.J. Dokey, Kyle Vander Ark and Joey Xavier.

Meantime, Cody Schmitt, who leads the team with a .311 average, was 0-for-3.

The win moved Marion to 10-5 (11-6 overall), preserving a 2.5-game cushion over Tradewater heading into a three-game series with the Pirates. The Bobcats are now 4-2 against the Railroaders in 2011, more wins than the team has amassed in any season against the Fulton team.

Fulton dropped to 6-10, behind Owensboro and Tradewater in chasing Marion for the first-ever Ohio Valley League title.

Click here for box score.

Tradewater 7, Owensboro 2
Tradewater (8-8) traded places with Owensboro (7-8) in the league standings Friday, moving into second with a 7-2 win at Riverside Park.

Bobcats look to rebound at Lohaus Field

BY CHRIS HARDESTY
For the first time this season, the Marion Bobcats lost two consecutive games dropping a 9-3 decision to Fulton Thursday night at Gordon Blue Guess Field.

Kyle Vander Ark greets Joey Xavier after
crossing the plate in a 9-3 loss to Fulton.
Things actually began well for the Bobcats in the bottom of the first when Cody Kottich, Taylor Banks and Caleb Eickoff all drew two-out walks. One batter later, Joey Xavier, who finished with a 3-for-4 night with an RBI and a run scored, put his team on top 1-0.

An error followed, allowing Landon Weitekamp to reach and another run crossed the plate for a 2-0 advantage.

But Bobcat starting hurler Garret Hunt fell behind hitters most of the night and did not get much defensive support behind him as the hosts committed five errors in the contest. They committed two miscues each in the second and fourth innings and the Railroaders took a 5-2 lead that they never relinquished.

Through five innings of work, the Rend Lake College hurler allowed seven hits, walked four batters and surrendered five earned runs.

Conversely, Railroader starting hurler Mike Canaly was sharp most of the night only allowed five hits and three runs and got great defensive help behind him.

Fulton catcher Connor Tracy and first baseman Kahtan Al-Kaissy each had perfect 3-for-3 days at the dish accounting for six of their team's 10 hits. Al-Kaissy also had three RBIs while scoring three runs. Meanwhile, Tracy was on base all four times he stepped to the plate, drawing a walk while also scoring a run.

"Yesterday's loss and tonight's loss were a lot the same," Bobcat skipper Kyle Medley said after the lackluster performance.

While not using the five-day layoff—which consisted of three rainouts—as an excuse, Medley described the stoppage in play as frustrating since his team was rolling along after 13 games.

He lamented the 10 walks surrendered by four Bobcat pitchers and knows they must make the opposition put the ball in play.

While he says he hasn't used the fact that his team has not dropped a series yet this season as a motivating factor, that is exactly what they will try avoid doing when they travel to Fulton tonight for the final game of the two-game set.

"My goal is to win every game," he said.

While the Bobcats (9-5, 10-5 overall) are still in first place, things are beginning to tighten up with Thursday's outcome. Despite not losing ground to second-place Owensboro, who lost to Tradewater 8-5, the Railroaders climbed to within 3.5 games of Marion in spite of owning a 6-9 worksheet.

New shortstop joins team
Shortstop Matthew Fears joined the Bobcats this week from Middle Georgia University. While playing hard in his first game with his new team Thursday, Fears left the game in the late innings due to an injury suffered in the field.

However, the Bobcat coach does not believe it will keep him out for an extended period of time.

"We're starting to get banged up. That's a concern," he said.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Marion drops 2nd consecutive game

Xavier
The Bobcats were unable to supply their general manager with a win Thursday for a belated birthday gift, dropping their second in a row with a 9-3 loss to visiting Fulton. It is the first time this season Marion has lost two consecutive games. It also marked the worst loss of the year, a six-run deficit.

Despite the loss, the Bobcats (9-5, 10-5 overall) remain in first place and celebrated general manager Gordon Guess' birthday—albeit five days late—after the game in what has become a tradition at the field that carries his name. Guess' birthday was on Saturday, but that contest with Tradewater was rained out, delaying the festivities.

At the plate Thursday, Joey Xavier went 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored for the Bobcats. A.J. Dokey and Cameron Chestnut each registered doubles. Matt Fears was 1-for-4 in his debut for Marion. Fears replaced Josh Johnson on the roster. Johnson left the team earlier this week due to personal reasons.

Starter Garret Hunt (0-2) took the loss for Marion, giving up seven of the nine runs, though two were unearned.

Miles Canaly picked up his first win for Fulton, allowing three Bobcat runs in seven innings. The Railroaders tallied four extra-base hits, including a triple off the bat of Rob Hogenkamp. Kahtan Al-Kaissy was perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBI.

The Bobcats will look to right the ship at Fulton tomorrow. Marion will remain on the road Saturday at Dawson Springs for the first of a three-game series with the Pirates. The final two games of the series will be played at Guess Field in a rare Sunday double header. The first game will start at 2:05 p.m.

Click here for box score.

Tradewater 8, Owensboro 5
The Pirates (7-8) picked up a game on Marion to move to within 2.5 games of the league leaders and a half-game behind second-place Owensboro (7-7). Three weeks into the season, the Bobcats are the only team in the league with a winning record.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rain ends chance at redemption

Rains between games of a scheduled double header eliminated a chance for Marion to pay back Owensboro for 2-0 earlier in the night.

Holding Marion (9-4, 10-4 overall) scoreless with only two hits in the front end of a twi-night double header that never was, Owensboro (7-6) became the first team in 2011 to beat the Bobcats more than once. It was also the first time the Bobcats were shut out this year.

Cody Kottich and Kyle Vander Ark provided the only offense for Marion, with singles in the fourth and fifth inning, respectively. Kottich and four other batters also reached via bases on balls, but the Bobcats couldn't manage a runner past second base off starter Ben Wright and reliever Zach Krebs.

Marion's Todd Brazell (2-1) held the Oilers scoreless through five innings, but a two-run sixth was all Owensboro needed in the seven-inning affair. Brazell pitched the entire game for Marion, giving up only five hits, but was saddled with his first loss.

Owensboro reached Brazell with three singles and a sacrifice fly in their final at-bat. Krebs came in to pitch the Oiler seventh and stranded two Bobcats after Owensboro's defense allowed Desmond Roberts and Caleb Eickoff to reach on errors with no outs.

The second game of the double header has not yet been rescheduled.

Click here for box score.

Tradewater 3, Fulton 2
The Pirates (6-8) picked up a game on Marion an moved into sole possession of third place, dropping Fulton (5-9) alone into last place.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fulton, Tradewater tied for 3rd

Fulton moved into a third-place tie with Tradewater Tuesday by virtue of a 7-4 road victory at Riverside Park. The Pirates put the winning run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth with two out, but the Railroaders were able to end the rally with a ball hit back to the box for an easy toss-over to first for the final out.

Marion remains in first place despite being idle since Friday. Owensboro is three games back, while Fulton and Tradewater are now both 4.5 games out.

Click here for box score.

Brazell, Hunt get starts in double header

Brazell
2-0, 4.20 ERA
After Tuesday's rainout at Owensboro, the Bobcats will finally retake the field Wednesday at Owensboro for a double header after a four-day break thanks to Mother Nature. Manager Kyle Medley will send Todd Brazell to the hill in Game 1, which begins at 5 p.m. Brazell is one of three Marion pitchers tied for the league lead with a perfect 2-0 record. He sports a 4.20 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 15 innings pitched.

In the second game, Garret Hunt (0-1) will get the start. Hunt has a 4.38 ERA with 10 strikeouts in 12.1 innings.

Each game, which is a seven-inning affair, can be followed live on GameChanger.

Tonight's game reset as part of Wednesday twin bill

Tonight's Bobcats' game at Owensboro has been canceled due to heavy rains. The game has been rescheduled for Wednesday as part of double header beginning at 5 p.m.

Last Tuesday's rainout—also against the Oilers—originally rescheduled for July 11 has been moved to at day earlier. The Sunday game will start at 2 p.m.

The Bobcats' last game was Friday, a 6-3 win at Tradewater.

Owensboro splits twin bill with Fulton

Fulton 5, Owensboro 4
Owensboro 12, Fulton 2
Owensboro and Fulton traded wins Monday in a double header scheduled to make up games postponed last week due to rain. Because of the split, both teams neither picked up or lost ground on league-leading Marion.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Brazell starts at Owensboro

2-0, 4.20 ERA
The Bobcats retake the field Tuesday at Owensboro after a three-day break thanks to Mother Nature. Manager Kyle Medley will send Todd Brazell to the hill. Brazell is one of three Marion pitchers tied for the league lead with a perfect 2-0 record. He sports a 4.20 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 15 innings pitched.

Game time is set for 7 p.m. and can be followed live on GameChanger.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

No game tonight

Due to heavy rains today, the game at Guess Field hosting the Tradewater Pirates has been postponed. No make-up date has been scheduled as of now.

Brazell looking for 3rd win

Todd Brazell, one of three Marion pitchers tied for the league lead of two wins, will shoot for a perfect 3-0 record tonight when he takes the mound against the visiting Tradewater Pirates. One of three southpaws on the Bobcats staff, Brazell has 19 strikeouts in 15 innings and a 4.20 ERA.

Of the five Ohio Valley League pitchers with two victories on the season, Marion's Brazell, Josh Anders and Daniel Szathmary have unblemished records. Only Owensboro's Zach Krebs boasts the same 2-0 showing. Tradewater's George Kalousek's two wins are matched by two losses.

At Guess Field tonight, all fans in attendance have a shot at a free half-order of breadsticks from Marion's Main Street Italian Grill.

With measurable rainfall already on the ground this morning and storms forecast throughout the entire day, look to this Web site for any possible announcement of a rainout.

Bobcats make it five in a row

BY CHRIS HARDESTY
The Bobcats continue to get great pitching performances, with the latest coming from the duo of Josh Anders and Daniel Szathmary Friday in Dawson Springs to help their team to a fourth straight victory in a 6-3 triumph over the Tradewater Pirates.

Entering the game with a miniscule 0.69 ERA, Anders (2-0) tossed a four-hitter while striking out five, improving to 2-0 on the season.

Staked to a 2-0 lead with one out in the Pirate fourth, the right-hander from Moss Bluff, La., retired nine consecutive batters. He did not allow another base runner until a two-out walk in the seventh inning.

Marion (9-3, 10-3 overall) made sure the hosts would have to play catchup very early as leadoff hitter Desmond Roberts scored on a Caleb Eickoff ground out to second in the top of the first after being hit by a pitch. The Bobcats never looked back from the 1-0 lead.

They added another run in the fourth when Cameron Chestnut reached on a fielder's choice scoring second baseman Landon Weitekamp for a 2-0 advantage.

While the Bobcats only had five hits in the winning effort, they had plenty of base runners as three Pirate hurlers combined for 10 walks during the game.

Bobcat DH Joseph Xavier, who went 2-for-5 in the win, extended the lead to 3-0 in the sixth with an RBI-double plating No. 5 hitter Kyle Vander Ark.

Leading by that same score entering the Pirate eighth, the visitors appeared to be in superb shape, especially since Anders had been in command all night. But with one out in that frame, Tradewater No. 9 hitter Tyler McDonald, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI, reached on a one-out single. One batter later, leadoff hitter Brock Bontrager reached on the only Marion error of the game.

That ended Anders' night, bringing reliever Szathmary into the game and the tying run to the dish.

After Szathmary walked left fielder David Zorn to load the bases, a sacrifice grounder to second by Eric Herman plated McDonald making it 3-1, spoilng Marion's bid for the first shutout of the season. But first baseman Derrek Etsell's, who had a rough night the plate, struck out for the fourth time and ended his team's threat.

As if the Pirate struggles at the plate were not a rough enough already, Etsell was inserted as the second reliever in the Bobcat ninth and issued three straight walks, leading to Marion's biggest lead of the evening at 6-1.

But Tradewater (5-7) refused to go easily. Two walks, a pair of hits and a balk off the arm of Szathmary made it 6-3 and brought the tying run to the dish for the Pirates. But just as Marion's bullpen has done all season, Szathmary put a stop to things as his team improved to an impressive 7-2 in games decided by three runs or fewer.

"Tying runs are gonna come to the plate. You've got to stay on an even keel," Marion skipper Kyle Medley said after the contest.

He was glad his team was able to jump out to a 3-0 lead and make the hosts play from behind from the first inning.

"We did the things we needed to do," he said.

Bobcat general manager Gordon Guess said from top to bottom it is the best pitching staff he has assembled in the franchise's four-year existence.

"Everybody on our pitching staff can give us something." said Guess.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bobcats double up on Pirates 6-3

The Bobcats gained ground on the entire league once again with a 6-3 victory Friday at Riverside Park in Dawson Springs. The win over the Pirates was the fourth in a row for Marion (9-3, 10-3 overall) and the seventh in the last eight contests. The team's last loss came in the tail end of a double header last Sunday against the Tradewater squad in the same setting.

Because Owensboro and Fulton were rained out, Marion picked up a half game on the second- and fourth-place teams, respectively. Owensboro (5-5) is three games out, Tradewater drops to two games below .500 and four behind Marion at 5-7 and Fulton, whose last two contests were called due to Mother Nature, stands five games out in last place at 3-7.

Click here for box score

Medley puts league's best ERA against Pirates

Josh Anders boasts a 0.69 ERA
Josh Anders will start Friday's game at Tradewater with a chance to record Marion's fifth consecutive win. Anders (1-0) has a 0.69 ERA, the league's lowest among pitchers to throw more than nine innings.

The game starts at 7 p.m. at Riverside Park in Dawson Springs.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Home run earns win in extra innings

It took 12 innings, but the Bobcats were able to extend their lead Thursday over second-place Owensboro with their fourth in a row. A lead-off home run by Cody Kottich in the top of the final inning pushed Marion (8-3, 9-3 overall) to a 5-4 win, moving 2.5 games ahead of the Oilers.

It was another comeback that allowed Marion to tie the game at 4-4 in the sixth inning, and Bobcats starter Kyle Tokunaga and the bullpen held Owensboro (5-5) in check to force extra innings. The game could not have been more even heading into overtime—both teams had 4 runs, 6 hits and 3 errors.

In the 10th, the bullpens each recorded a 1-2-3 inning, but the Bobcats put the go-ahead run 90 feet away in the next frame. Jake Hirniak reached third on an error after a one-out walk and stolen base but was left stranded when No. 2 hitter Caleb Eickhoff flied out to shallow left.

Marion allowed its own runner in the 11th on a two-out walk, but Tripp Jolly closed out the pen's third hitless inning in relief leaving the Owensboro threat at first. The Oilers managed only one hit after the Bobcats tied the game in the sixth inning, giving an 0-for-5 Kottich a chance to play hero to start the 12th. After fouling off two Jim Mulvaney pitches with the count full, the designated hitter sent the eighth pitch he saw over the right field fence.

That would be all Mulvaney would allow, but it was enough for Bobcats closer Matt Vollenweider to earn his seventh save by striking out two and forcing a ground out to short. Only 12 games into the schedule, Vollenweider is one save away from tying his manager's team saves record. Kyle Medley set that record in the Bobcats' inaugural season, 2008.

Tokunaga pitched eight strong innings, giving up only two earned runs of the four he allowed. Stephen Glaze, Jolly and Vollenweider combined for only one walk and three strikeouts in four innings of relief.

At the plate, only Cameron Chestnut had multiple hits for Marion, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Click here for box score.

Hall sparkles in Bobcat win

BY CHRIS HARDESTY
Despite a rainout the previous night, the Marion Bobcats showed no signs of rust whatsoever Wednesday as southpaw starting hurler Zach Hall tossed a four-hitter, struck out 12 and allowed only one runner past second base in a 3-1 triumph against Owensboro at Guess Field.

He also helped to spoil the homecoming of former Bobcat skipper Steve Fowler, now the Oilers' manager, as well as Drew Barrett, a former Marion second baseman and now an assistant for the Oilers.

Hall was in command all night, retiring the first 11 batters he faced before surrendering a 4th-inning single to Oiler left fielder Ty Stetson. After stranding that runner to keep the contest in a scoreless deadlock, he had another impressive streak of setting down eight more consecutive Oiler batters.

"It was about the best I have felt in a long time," said the freshman at Parkland Community College in Champaign, Ill.

Hall continually got ahead in the count and at one juncture in the 8th inning had thrown 65 strikes to just 39 balls.

"I try to work ahead. One thing I really wanted to do was throw strikes," he said.

He also had tremendous praise for his defense, which played errorless baseball while he was in the game.

"The defense made every play. They've got my back, and they had it tonight," Hall said.

With one out in the Bobcat 5th and the game still in a scoreless deadlock, No. 9 hitter Jake Hirniak reached base via a hit batsman. A pair of Oiler infield errors—to the third and second basemen—allowed A. J. Dokey and Cody Schmitt to reach base safely.

Hirniak came across to score on a sacrifice fly by Cody Kottich making it 1-0. Dokey also later scored and the hosts would have all the runs they would need in the win.

Trailing by the same score in the visitor's half of the seventh, Owensboro cleanup hitter Gabriel Pena received the only walk Hall would issue all night. Two batters later, Bo Younker recorded an RBI-single to left field cutting, the lead in half at 2-1 and proving that the outcome was far from over.

In the bottom of the 8th, No. 7 hitter Kyle Vander Ark recorded an RBI-single, scoring right fielder Dustin Roberts to give Marion (8-3, 7-3) an insurance run at 3-1.

Bobcat closer Matt Vollenweider entered in the ninth searching for his sixth save.

After retiring Stetson on a pop up to second, Vollenweider hit Pena. After a strikeout, an error and walk followed, loading the bases for the visitors against the closer who has been automatic this summer.

Despite not being as sharp as usual, he got the next hitter to hit to third and Younker was forced out at the third base bag to secure the win.

The Bobcats now have a 1.5 game lead over the second-place Oilers and the two teams will close the series tonight in Owensboro.

"I think the day off helped us tremendously," assistant Bobcat coach Dave Gilbert said after the game.

Gilbert didn't pull any punches while giving his analysis of the game.

"We absolutely wanted it worse than they did. They just didn't have a lot of fire," he said.

While still not having lost a series or dropped two games in a row on the young season, he believes that consistent play will continue.

"Its gonna be hard to beat us. We've got a good group of guys," said the Brookhaven Academy assistant high school coach in Mississippi.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tokunaga gets 1st start of year

Kyle Tokunaga gets his first start for the Bobcats Thursday at Owensboro. Tokunaga, a freshman at Marion Military Institute in Alabama, has a 1.56 ERA with six strikeouts in 5.2 innings.

The Bobcats will be looking to sweep the two-game series with the Oilers.

Bobcats spoil Fowler's return

Marion proved a poor host on Wednesday for former manager of the Bobcats, Steve Fowler. Fowler, now heading the Owensboro Oilers (5-4), was met with a 3-1 defeat in his first trip to Guess Field as the opposing skipper.

With the win, Marion (7-3, 8-3 overall) held on to first place and increased their lead over second-place Owensboro by a full game. The Oilers will be looking to return the favor Thursday and whittle away A 1.5-game gap when the Bobcats play visitor.

Leadoff hitter A.J. Dokey did his job for Marion, going 2-for-4 and scoring one of Marion's runs. On the mound, Zach Hall (1-1) erased memories his Opening Night loss at Guess Field by pitching eight innings, striking out 12 and allowing only four hits. Matt Vollenweider closed out the game for his league-leading sixth save, though one was recorded in an interleague contest and is not counted in Ohio Valley League stats.

Click here for box score.

Tradewater 7, Fulton 6
The Pirates picked up a game on second-place Wednesday and kept pace with league-leading Marion with a 7-6 win over Fulton (3-9). Tradewater (5-6) won with an RBI, walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Marion, Owensboro to tangle for 1st place

Fulton picked up ground on everyone Tuesday with a 5-4 win over Tradewater. The loss was the Pirates' fifth in their last six games, but they remain in third place in the Ohio Valley League ahead of the last-place Railroaders by a half-game.

The Bobcats and Oilers had the night off due to a rainout at Guess Field, but the two teams will face Wednesday in a battle for first place. A win will keep the Bobcats in first, but a loss moves the Oilers a half-game ahead of host Marion.

Manager Kyle Medley will send Tripp Jolly to the mound for the Bobcats. Jolly had a no-decision in his only start, but maintains a 3.18 ERA.

Down 6-0, Bobcats rally past Hustlers

The following story was originally published June 13 on www.TheNewsEnterprise.com, Elizabethtown, Ky.'s daily newspaper. 

BY JOHN GROTH
Kyle Medley’s plan worked out perfect.

And the inaugural Snappy Tomato Baseball Classic received a bit of a surprising result.

The Marion Bobcats, a team filled with all junior college players, showed that they could take down the Lexington Hustlers – a team with plenty of NCAA Division-I talent.

The John Hardin High School teacher and Marion coach guided his team to a huge come-from-behind 7-6 win Monday at his home high school.

Oh snap!

Marion rallied from a six-run deficit, scoring six runs in the middle three innings and adding one off a wild pitch in the top of the ninth to pull out the  victory.

Marion, which formed in 2008, is a member of the new four-team Ohio Valley Summer Collegiate Baseball League, while Lexington is the newest member of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. But Hustlers’ coach Bobby Wright thinks that Marion would be a welcome addition in years to come – especially after their impressive comeback.

 “I think it’s a great idea for our teams. Like for Marion with a lot of JUCO kids, it gives them a chance to show what they’ve got. I was impressed by them. They swung very well. They’re a good team,” Wright said. “It’s a good idea. I knew how teams get into the Great Lakes League. I see this team (Marion) being able to compete in the Great Lakes League, most certainly.”

And that’s what the Bobcats hope to do in the future. For now, though, they’re showing they can compete with upper-level talent.

Medley and Wright worked together to plan the Snappy Tomato College Baseball Classic months ago. Medley took over as the Bobcats’ manager in the fall of 2010. He played for the Bobcats the year before and also served as an assistant baseball coach at John Hardin and the varsity pitching coach at Washington County.

Now, he’s coaching a young and youthful lineup of players from throughout the United States.

For the first time in its four-year history, Marion is made up of all junior college players. The Bobcats hail from eight states – Kansas, Illinois, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Ohio, Georgia and California.

Two of the Illinois players provided the spark, as freshman A.J. Dokey (Wabash Valley) hit a two-run home run to tie the game at 6-6 in the sixth inning and freshman Cody Schmitt (Olney Central) scored the game-winning run.

It’s a little bit of a different summer baseball experience for these players, but Schmitt acknowledged the common bond is something different.

“It’s refreshing to walk in here. We know everyone is exactly in the same boat,” said Schmitt, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. “Coach (Medley) told us we’re not supposed to win this game. When people wake up to read the paper, they won’t expect to read we beat Lexington. Not a lot of people would have expected that. They went to big schools. They can hit the ball and field the ball. It makes it so much sweeter that we can come out on top.”

Marion is in the middle of the toughest part of its schedule, playing 13 games in a 12-day stretch. The Bobcats played a doubleheader Sunday against OVSCBL rival Tradewater and have home games today and Wednesday against league rival Owensboro.

Since it was an interleague game, neither team’s league record will be affected.

John Groth can be reached at (270) 505-1754 or jgroth@thenewsenterprise.com.

Fowler's return to Guess Field postponed

Former Bobcat manager Steve Fowler's return to Guess Field as the opposing manager has been rained out. Fowler and the Owensboro Oilers were scheduled to begin a two-game series today, but heavy rains made the field unplayable. Wednesday's game against Owensboro is still scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Today's contest against the Oilers has been rescheduled for July 11 at Guess Field.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fowler makes 1st visit as opposing manager

Steve Fowler will be in a familiar setting Tuesday, but with an unfamiliar view—from the visiting dugout at Guess Field. Fowler, who helped establish the Bobcats by guiding the team through its first three years before joining Owensboro earlier this year, will return as manager of the second-place Oilers (5-3) with a chance to take over first place with a win.

But across the field in the home dugout will be his former closer and current manager of the league-leading Bobcats (6-3, 7-3 overall), Kyle Medley. Medley, who set Marion's saves record under Fowler in 2008, will face his old manager at home for the first time, looking to retain sole possession of first place in the Ohio Valley League. A split or sweep of the two-game set would guarantee the Bobcats the league lead when Fowler and the Oilers leave town after Wednesday's game.

First pitch for both contests will be 7:05 p.m.

Zach Hall (0-1) will make the start Tuesday. Hall was on the short end of the decision on Opening Night at Guess Field. He has a 3.86 ERA with six strikeouts in seven innings pitched.

For the fans, hot dogs will be half price all night Tuesday, with only a buck landing the the traditional baseball fare. Tuesday will also give fans a shot at a gift from Edward Jones. If an Oiler batter selected before the game strikes out, everyone in the house will receive a promotional golf tee.

On Wednesday, KFC will offer a free drink with a sandwich under the same strikeout promotion.

All Bobcat games can be followed free of charge, play-by-play on GameChanger.

Bobcats hustle Lexington out of interleague win

It was another come-from-behind rally that allowed the Bobcats to take the Snappy Tomato Classic Monday in their final at-bat. Breaking a 6-6 tie in the 9th inning on a score from third off a wild pitch, Marion (6-3, 7-3 overall) was able to seal another comeback with a 7-6 victory over the Lexington Hustlers (0-2, 0-3 overall) of the Great Lakes League.

The interleague contest at a neutral site in Elizabethtown, Ky., was the first meeting between the teams in the first-ever Classic. The win, however, will not count in Ohio Valley League standings, but returns league-leading Marion to its winning ways after dropping the night cap of Sunday's double header to Tradewater.

The Bobcats dug themselves a hole early, ending the third inning down 6-0 to the Hustlers, but pulled even with two runs in each of the next three innings. Marion starter Anthony Edwards gave up all six Lexington runs in four innings, but was taken off the hook with the rally and another strong showing by the bullpen.

Desmond Roberts, typically an outfielder, made his first appearance on the mound, spelling Edwards and throwing two scoreless innings of one-hit ball with three strikeouts. Daniel Szathmary pitched the 8th, earning the win. Matt Vollenweider recorded a save by shutting down Lexington's offense after giving up a lead-off single in the final frame.

The win was Szathmary's third and the save was Vollenweider's fourth, each leading the Bobcats in the respective categories. Statistics and records for the game will not be tallied with Ohio Valley League numbers, but will count toward Bobcat records.

At the plate, Roberts also shined, going 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and run scored. Meantime, Taylor Banks had 3 RBI on a 2-for-3 night, and A.J. Dokey added a two-run home run to pull Marion even in the visitor's half of the sixth. Cody Schmitt scored the winning run on the wild pitch after a lead-off single in the 9th.

Click here for GameChanger box score. You will have to sign up for GameChanger to view the results.

Nashville double header cancelled

Sunday's scheduled interleague double header at Nashville has been canceled according to Marion's general manager, Gordon Guess. Another date at Music City has been tentatively scheduled for July 10, he said.

Interleague games do not count in the Ohio Valley League standings.

Interleague contest next on Bobcats' schedule

Andrew Edwards gets his second start today in the Snappy Tomato Classic, a first-ever showdown between two Kentucky collegiate league baseballs team in Elizabethtown, Ky.

Marion (6-3) will face the Lexington Hustlers (0-2), the newest member of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. The game is scheduled for  6:30 p.m., and is to be played at John Hardin High School in Elizabethtown. An interleague game, the outcome will not affect the Bobcats' standings in the Ohio Valley League.

In his first start, Edwards (1-0) struck out five and allowed 3 earned runs in 5 innings. After a three-game winning streak came to an end Sunday, the Bobcats are looking to Edwards to start a new string of wins.

For more on the Snappy Tomato Classic, visit the Lexington Sports Examiner.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tradewater takes nightcap 6-5

Tradewater ended the Bobcats' winning streak Sunday and ceased their own four-game slide, earning a 6-5 victory in the nightcap of a double header at Riverside Park in Dawson Springs.

The Pirates (4-5) broke a 2-2 tie with a run in the bottom of the 3rd inning and never looked back, tacking on 3 more runs in the fifth. After the 3rd inning, Marion (6-3) was held scoreless by Pirates pitchers until the last frame when the offense clawed its way back to within one run. However, Tradewater was able to finally shut down the Bobcat offense for a 6-5 win.

Garret Hunt (0-1) took the loss for the Bobcats, but the team managed to keep their hold on first place.

The Bobcats' next Ohio Valley League game will be Tuesday when former manager Steve Fowler returns to Guess Field for the first time as manager of the Owensboro Oilers.

Click here for box score.

Owensboro 7, Fulton 6
Owensboro thwarted a late comeback by Fulton in the seventh and final inning of the front end of a double header to earn a 7-6 win at Lohaus Field. The game saw the teams combine for eight stolen bases in nine attempts.

Owensboro 2, Fulton 1
Fowler has poised the Oilers to challenge the Bobcats for first place when they visit Guess Field on Tuesday. By winning the second half of a Sunday twin bill at Fulton, the Oilers could take over first place with a win Tuesday. Owensboro had to come from behind in the game for the 2-1 win. Ryan Stephens accounted for both Oiler runs with a solo home run in the 5th and RBI-single in the 6th.

Front-end of double header goes to Bobcats

The first game of tonight's double header at Riverside Park went to Marion. The Bobcats defeated Tradewater 7-6 behind 11 hits.

Marion (6-2) broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the 6th inning with three runs. All three runs came on Pirate miscues—an error and two passed balls—with a runner on third. They added two more scores in the top of the seventh on a Cody Kottich triple and single by Desmond Roberts. Kottich's single was the first for the Bobcats in 2011.

The extra runs were needed to preserve the win as Tradewater mounted a comeback against starter Todd Brazell and the visiting Bobcats in the final inning, scoring four runs before closer Matt Vollenweider shut the door on the comeback at 7-6. The Pirates scratched out the four runs in nearly every way possible—two hits, a walk, a hit batsman, an error and a sacrifice fly.

In the Ohio Valley League, each end of a double header is only seven innings unless extra frames are needed to break a tie.

Brazell earned his second win in as many starts despite the rough 7th inning. Vollenweider tallied his league-leading fourth save by getting the final two outs of the game.


Click here for box score.

Bobcats on road for double header

Marion hits the road to Dawson Springs today for its first double header of the season, closing out the three-game Tradewater series. The first game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. and can be followed on GameChanger.

Todd Brazell, a Garden City (Kan.) Community College product, will start Game 1, going for his second win in as many starts. He has a 4.00 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 9 innings pitched.

In the nightcap, Garret Hunt of Illinois' Rend Lake Community College will be looking for his first win after a no-decision in his first start for Marion. Hunt sports a 1.43 ERA, having pitched 6.1 innings.

Former Bobcat in College World Series

A former Bobcat will participate in the 2011 College World Series later this month.

Andrew Harris, a junior reserve infielder at third, short and second and sometimes a pinch-runner and pinch-hitter for the Vanderbilt Commodores, will join the Nashville university in its first-ever appearance in the NCAA title series. The Commodores will face North Carolina June 18-29 in Omaha, Neb., site of the College World Series.

Harris played for Marion two years ago. With the Commodores this spring, Harris played in 12 games, scoring 2 runs and posting a perfect fielding percentage.

"Harris...was a clutch player and a real 'gamer'," said Bobcats General Manager Gordon Guess, an alumnus of Vanderbilt. "His agressiveness caused some injuries, however, but he survived well."

Coverage of the College World Series will be carried on ESPN.

Vollenweider earns 3rd save in win

Josh Anders gave up only 2 earned runs
in six innings, but failed to get the win.
BY CHRIS HARDESTY
Bobcat closer Matt Vollenweider is getting good at protecting late leads handed to him by his teammates.

Such was once again the case Saturday night at Gordon Blue Guess Field when he nailed down his third save of the season helping his team to a 7-5 come-from-behind win over their archrival Tradewater Pirates.

For the second consecutive game, the Bobcats (5-2) and 1.5 ahead of the Pirates, claimed a lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, moving ahead 7-5 and not about to let it slip away.

"I just went out there trying to get ground balls," Vollenweider said about the top of the ninth when he sat the Pirates down in order.

Going back to his save Friday night against Fulton, five of the impressive closer's six outs have come via the strikeout.

While not getting caught up in numbers, the Chattahoochee Valley Community College (Phenix City, Ala.) player believes things will take care of themselves if he simply executes his pitches.

"If you play the game right, score books don't matter," he said.

A rocky first inning by Marion starter Josh Anders made another comeback necessary as two hits coupled with a pair of walks gave the visitors a 2-0 lead.

After Bobcat leadoff hitter Josh Johnson was thrown out at second base trying to stretch a Pirate fielding error into two bases, Tradewater still did not prevent the home team from getting one of those tallys back. One batter later, Cody Schmitt was hit by a pitch, Cody Kottich then walked and cleanup batter Caleb Eickoff  reached via a hit batsman to load the bases with still only one away. Schmitt scored on a wild pitch making it 2-1.

Meanwhile, Anders settled down, allowing no more runs and only two hits before he departed after the sixth with his team still very much in the game.

The score remained 2-1 until the bottom of the fifth when Kottich scored on an RBI-single by right fielder Desmond Roberts, knotting the contest at 2-all.

A combined eight walks issued by the Pirate pitching staff hurt their cause Saturday night with one of them being of the leadoff variety to Cameron Chesnut in the sixth inning. A scorching RBI-double by Joseph Xavier followed and the hosts had claimed their first lead of the night at 3-2. Another RBI-double by Kottich, who reached base four times, followed, scoring Xavier and Jake Hirniak for a 5-2 advantage.

Marion could have done even more damage that frame since they stranded the bases loaded, but nevertheless, they had turned the momentum their way.

Leading by that same score heading into the visitor's half of the eighth, Bobcat reliever Daniel Szathmary entered to work for the second straight night.

After a leadoff walk to DH Tony Becerra, Szathmary looked like he might get out of the jam fanning the next two Tradewater batters. Unfortunately, Becerra came across to score thanks to an RBI-single by Brock Bontrager making it 5-3. Another RBI-single by third baseman Tyler McDonald knotted the contest at 5-all and the Bobcats' three-run advantage had fallen by the wayside.

Pirate reliever Nick McCowin seemed poised to send the game to the ninth still tied getting Johnson and Schmitt on ground ball outs in the bottom half of the eighth. But a two-out walk to Kottich would start a rally for the home team. A double from Eickoff brought the hot-hitting Roberts to the dish. He capped a 3-for-5 night off in grand fashion, smashing a sharp RBI-double to center to plate both of them for the final margin.

Marion skipper Kyle Medley had a simple explanation in describing his squad's second straight comeback win.

"You've gotta get 27 outs," he said.

With all 24 players on the Bobcat roster consisting of junior college players, the 5-2 beginning to the season pleases him all the much more.

"Their fighting for their baseball lives," he said, describing their approach on wanting to impress a four-year school in order to continue playing at the college level.

With at least a split tonight at Dawson Springs, the Bobcats will continue their early streak of not having lost a series since play began on June 3.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bobcats beat rivals, keep sole possession of 1st

Marion's Caleb Eickhoff reaches for the catcher's throw to
2nd on a stolen base attempt early in the game Saturday.
The Bobcats retained sole possession of first place Saturday with a 7-5 win over Tradewater. Marion (5-2) moved two games ahead of Tradewater (3-4) with another come-from-behind win. The game was the first meeting of the year between the rivals.

Daniel Szathmary picked up his second win and Matt Vollenweider earned his third save of the season.

Marion also picked up a half-game on both second-place Owensboro (3-3) and last-place Fulton (2-4). Saturday's Oilers-Railroaders game was postponed due to rain and lightning. The game will be rescheduled at a later date.

Click here for box score.

Anders to throw against rival Pirates

Josh Anders (1-0) will be looking for his second win in as many starts for the Bobcats when he takes to the mound tonight against rival Tradewater. In seven innings pitched in two appearances, Anders has yet to give up an earned run.

The Pirates come to Guess Field for the first time in 2011. The game is set to start at 7:05 p.m. Fredonia Valley Bank is the promotional sponsor, offering keychain lights to contest winners.

Bobcats mount comeback for best start in history

BY CHRIS HARDESTY
Just as everyone needs a little help from time to time, Bobcats starting pitcher Tripp Jolly got some in the form of his bullpen after not being as sharp as he would have liked Friday night against the Fulton Railroaders at Gordon Blue Guess Field.

Jolly left on the short end of a 5-1 deficit after 5.1 innings, but the quartet of Garret Hunt, Stephen Glaze, Daniel Szathmary and Matt Vollenweider combined for no runs, only two hits and five strikeouts as the Bobcats rallied for a 6-5 win to split the two-game series.

The Bobcats (4-2) are currently alone in first place a half-game ahead of the Tradewater Pirates, who come to town tonight.

After setting the Railroaders (2-4) down in order in the first inning, Jolly ran into trouble in the second, allowing four runs, three hits and an error. And for the second consecutive night, the Bobcats had dug themselves an early hole.

But entering the bottom of the fourth with a 5-0 lead, Fulton starting southpaw Skylar Cobb began to also have problems.

Bobcats designated hitter Cody Schmitt and first baseman Cody Kottich walked to begin the frame, ending Cobb's streak of setting down seven consecutive batters. One batter later, third baseman Caleb Eickoff was hit by a pitch, loading the bases with no outs. Schmitt came around to score on an error and Kottich scored on a wild pitch and the hosts were back in contention trailing 5-2.

Railroad reliever Brice Smallwood spelled Cobb in the fifth, but failed to fare any better. He hit two batters to begin the frame, plunking leadoff hitter Desmond Roberts and Schmitt. After a walk and an error, both came around to score, closing the gap to 5-4.

After Jolly departed in the sixth, Hunt, who pitched for Marshall County High School and currently with Rend Lake Community College in Illinois, came in to retire the only batter he faced, keeping the deficit at one.

As stranding 13 runners came back to haunt the Bobcats in a defeat Thursday night, the Railroaders stranded that same number in last night's setback, preventing them from sweeping the series.
Glaze worked a scoreless seventh and Szathmary came in and did the same in the eighth to keep the contest tight in the late innings.

Bobcat outfielder Cameron Chesnut led off the eighth with a single followed by another single from pinch-hitter Landon Weitekamp.

Chesnut scored on a sacrifice fly from Jake Hirniak, knotting the score at 5-all with one out. After a ground out to third, Roberts reached on a throwing error from the Railroader first baseman that resulted when the pitcher did not cover first base early enough. Weitekamp scored the winning run on the miscue to keep his team in first place.

Vollenweider fanned the side in the Railroader ninth to get the save. The win went to Szathnary.

"We knew in the fourth inning we were going to win," Bobcat skipper Kyle Medley said after the game.

While glad to be off to the best start in the four-year existence of the franchise, the Bobcat coach also believes they could still be undefeated at this early juncture.

"I told them I was proud of them," the manager said when asked what he told his squad after the comeback win.

He also praised assistant coach Dave Gilbert for doing a good job in forcing the issue with aggressiveness during the game.

"Coach Gilbert has done a good job in keeping us real aggressive," he said.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bobcats rally down 5-0 to win

Marion mounted a comeback Friday down 5-0 in the fourth to score the first home win of 2011, downing Fulton 6-5. The win moved the Bobcats to 4-2, the team's best start in its four years of existence. The win also kept Marion in first place, the latest the team has retained at least a share of first.

Bobcats starter Tripp Jolly gave up all five Railroader runs through 5.1 innings pitched, but Marion's offense and pitching staff got Jolly off the hook for the loss in his first start. Daniel Szathmary (1-0) earned the win despite facing only one batter, and Matt Vollenwieder earned his second save of the year by closing the door in the ninth.

The bullpen for the Bobcats has given up only three earned runs in 18.1 innings, a collective 1.47 ERA.

Marion is 3-1 against Fulton (2-4) this year, guaranteeing the best head-to-head record with the Railroaders since the Bobcats were born in 2008.

Click here for box score.

Owensboro 6, Tradewater 5
By the same score as the Marion-Fulton game, the Pirates went down to the Oilers, leaving Marion in sole possession of first place in the Ohio Valley League. Owensboro had to come from behind in the bottom of the ninth down 5-2, but a walk-off single scoring two runs gave former Bobcat manager Steve Fowler and his team a .500 record at 3-3. The Pirates' record is also even at 3-3, sharing second place with Owensboro.

Sixth starter gets ball against Fulton

Tripp Jolly will pitch in his first game for the Bobcats Friday, getting the ball to start the second and final game of the Fulton series. Jolly, a right-hander from Monticello, Miss., will face the Railroaders looking to earn a win and a split in the home opening series. He is the sixth Bobcat pitcher to make a start in as many games.

Just-a-Burg'r in Marion will be hosting the night's promotions with a coupon for a free drink to everyone in the crowd if a Fulton batter selected before the game strikes out.

As with all Friday games, children will be invited to run the bases after the contest.

Marion drops home-opener 7-3

The Bobcats fell to 3-2 by dropping their home opener Thursday 7-3 against Fulton. By the fortune of a Tradewater loss, however, Marion remained in a first-place tie with the Pirates.

Fulton managed all of their runs against Marion starter Zach Hall (0-1), sending 4 runs home in the fifth inning. However, the Bobcats' bullpen remained strong, with Kyle Tokunaga throwing two scoreless innings to close the game. The bullpen has allowed only 3 earned runs in 14.2 innings.

The Railroaders jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first with runs scored on a wild pitch and double steal. After another score in the third, Rob Hogenkamp contributed a 3-run double two innings later to run the score to 6-1. Nick Duff added the last Fulton run on a single in the same inning.

Marion scored its first run on a passed ball in the fourth after blowing a bases-loaded opportunity the inning before. With runners on every station and no outs in the third, Caleb Eickhoff hit into a double play that started with a force out at the plate. Joey Xavier ended the inning with a fly to center, leaving two runners in scoring position. Despite another no-out double play to start the seventh, the Bobcats managed to chase Fulton starter Steven Dooley (1-1) with a second run.

The Bobcats added their final run in the ninth on a bases loaded walk with one out. With the bags still full, the tying run came to the plate in the next two batters, but Fulton reliever Tate Glasscock was able to end the game with back-to-back strikeouts, leaving all three Marion runners stranded.

Click here for box score of the game.

Owensboro 5, Tradewater 4
Owensboro (2-3) moved to within a game of first place by edging Tradewater (3-2) Thursday 5-4. It was the Oilers first win in three tries against the Pirates this year.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bobcats look for win on Opening Night

Zach Hall, the second of two left-handed starters for Marion (3-1), will make his first appearance tonight. At Parkland College in Champaign, Ill. this spring, Hall featured three pitches he used to goes after batters.

Stout Law Office and Marion Fire Department will be offering special promotions during the game. The Marion law office will sponsor Shirt Off Your Back Night, which will take place during every Thursday home game. Bobcat players will wear the sponsor’s shirts on the corresponding Thursday night. At the end of the night, the players will personally give their shirts to 26 special fans.

Meantime, the fire department will sponsor another new promotion for every home game, Strike Out Guy of the Night. A player from the opposing team will be chosen by Bobcats staff and his name will be announced to the fans. If/when this player is fanned  by a Bobcat pitcher, everyone in the stands will receive a prize. Fans will receive a prize for only one of the chosen player’s strikeouts regardless of the number of times he strikes out.

First pitch for Opening Night is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Gordon Blue Guess Field at Marion-Crittenden County Park. The game can be followed pitch-by-pitch by signing up for GameChanger. There is no cost to follow action through the app.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Offensive explosion downs Oilers

Marion's offense exploded Wednesday at Owensboro, splitting the two-game series with the Oilers thanks to a 13-3 win. The Bobcats scored multiple runs in four innings, including a five-run fifth in which 11 batters came to the plate.

Andrew Edwards (1-0) earned the win in his first start for the Bobcats, striking out five and allowing two runs. Josh Anders and Todd Brazell, who each earned wins in starts for Marion, combined for three innings of shut-out ball. Brazell struck out five in two innings of work.  Matthew Vollenweider threw a perfect inning, striking out two, to end the game.

Bobcats pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts.

Marion tallied 12 hits, and Caleb Eickhoff went 3-for-4 with a double and 3 RBI to lead four Bobcat batters with multiple hits—Taylor Banks, Josh Johnson and Cody Scmitt, each with two. Taylor Banks, the hottest hitter in the league through four games, was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. The catcher also scored 2 runs and had a stolen base.

Only six of Marion's 13 runs were earned, but all four Fulton pitchers were scored upon.

Marion (3-1) last scored as many runs in a 16-13 loss to Owensboro on July 22, 2010. It was the biggest win for the Bobcats and most runs scored in a winning effort since a 20-8 victory over Tradewater on June 28, 2010.

With Wednesday's loss, Owensboro fell to 1-3 under former Bobcat manager Steve Fowler.

Click here for box score.

Tradewater 16, Fulton 3
The Pirates (3-1) had a 9-run second inning en route to a 16-3 win over Fulton (1-3), keeping pace with Marion for a share of first place early in the Ohio Valley League.

Bobcats look to even Oilers series

Gilbertsville, Ky. native Andrew Edwards has been tapped to make his first start of the year today. Edwards and the Bobcats will travel to Owensboro looking to rebound from their first loss of the year on Tuesday, a 3-2 loss to the Oilers, a team coached by Marion's former manager, Steve Fowler. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

At Rend Lake College, Edwards was 3-3 in eight games this spring for the Illinois school. The righty sported a 3.22 ERA and struck out nearly a batter an inning, fanning 49 in 50.1 innings.

The game can be followed pitch-by-pitch by signing up for GameChanger. There is no cost to follow  action through the app.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Former manager hands Marion first loss

Former Bobcat manager Steve Fowler got the best of his old club Tuesday with the kind of baseball he loves—small ball. The 3-2 win for Owensboro (1-2) was its first of the year, coming in Fowler's first game against the team he managed for its first three years of play. Marion manager Kyle Medley played under Fowler in the team's first year, 2008.

Tuesday's loss was the first for Marion (2-1) and occurred in walk-off fashion on an error. The Bobcats had held the Oilers even at 2-2 after tying the game in the top of the sixth, but in the ninth, Owensboro's Davey Murphy reached on a one-out single and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt, Fowler's trademark style while with Marion. Exchanging the second out for a runner on second base paid off for the Oilers when Bobcats left fielder Cameron Chestnut misplayed a fly ball, allowing Murphy to score from second and end the game.

Each team committed two errors, but Marion's were more costly, allowing two of the three runs scored by Owensboro. Though the winning score was one of those two unearned runs, Kyle Tokunaga (0-1) was saddled with the loss after spelling starter Garrett Hunt in the seventh and pitching two hitless innings until Murphy's single in the last frame. Hunt pitched well in his first start, allowing only four hits in six innings of work. One of the two runs he allowed was unearned.

Austin Clay, who closed the game for Owensboro, evened his record at 1-1 with the win. He held Marion scoreless in 3.2 innings after the Bobcats evened the game against an old nemesis, Joe Devine. Devine gave up only three hits in 5.1 innings, but his two earned runs left him with a no-decision.

Marion's batters, who had managed seven runs and double-digit hits in their first two games, managed only four hits against the Oilers pitchers. Taylor Banks had one of those hits, extending his season-opening hitting streak to three games and moving him to 7-for-11 on the year. Tyler Bailey, Landon Weitekamp and Chestnut accounted for the other hits, all singles.

Weitekamp pushed both Marion runs across the plate, tying the game each time. In the second, he scored Chestnut on a sacrifice fly and pulled the Bobcats even again in the sixth when his single sent Chestnut home for the second time.

Marion had five stolen bases, and though the defense was the Bobcats' Achilles heel on Tuesday, the infield turned three double plays.

Click here for box score. 

Fulton 8, Tradewater 6
Fulton (1-2) struck for three runs in the top of the 13th inning to earn its first win of the season and send Tradewater (2-1) to the loss column for the first time in 2011. The Pirates loss allowed Marion to retain a share of first place after losing its first game.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bobcats to face old manager

Kyle Medley will send Garrett Hunt to the hill Tuesday when Marion travels to Owensboro to face their old manager, Steve Fowler. It will be the first time Medley and the Bobcats have faced Fowler, who has also managed the Tradewater Pirates, another Ohio Valley League team.

For Hunt, it will be his first start of the year in the league. The right-hander was 1-2 with a 9.27 ERA this spring with Rend Lake College in Illinois. In 22.1 innings, he fanned 19 batters. He is a native of nearby Benton, Ky.

Medley was a relief pitcher for Fowler in Marion's inaugural season, 2008. Fowler managed the Bobcats through the 2010 season, when the team finished in a best-ever fourth place in the KIT League. Fowler joined the Oilers in 2011 season.

The game can be followed pitch-by-pitch by signing up for GameChanger. There is no cost to follow  action through the app. The first pitch is slated for 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Marion off to best start ever

On Saturday, the Bobcats did something they have never done: open the season with a 2-0 record. As was the case the night before, Marion's offense pounded out double-digits hits en route to scoring seven runs and tallying a win. Tonight, however, the long-ball made the difference in keeping Fulton at bay in a 7-4 victory.

Sure, it's only two games into a 42-game schedule, but wins at Lohaus Field over the previous three years have been difficult to come by. But early on in 2011, manager Kyle Medley appears to have his team running on all cylinders. Matching Friday's impressive season-opening win, the offense Saturday managed 10 hits, the defense again sparkled and baserunners swiped seven bases.

At the plate, Cody Kottich, Desmond Roberts and Cameron Chestnut each contributed solo home runs off Fulton starter Steven Dooley, who gave up Marion's first five runs in 4.2 innings of work. Dooley (0-1) took the loss against Todd Brazell (1-0), who struck out eight and gave up only two Fulton runs in six innings on his way to the second win for a Marion starter in as many nights.

Zach Hall came on in the seventh to relieve Brazell, but surrendered two runs on an infield hit and sacrifice fly. Hall managed to close out the inning without further damage, however. Chattahoochee Valley Community College products Daniel Szathmary and Matt Vollenweider paired to pitch the eighth and ninth, respectively, for the second night. Vollenweider earned his first save of the season, holding the Railroaders scoreless in the final frame.

Meantime, Garden City (Kans.) Community College also figured big Saturday for the Bobcats, with all three of its players—Roberts, Kottich and Brazzel—on Marion's roster instrumental in the win.

Catcher Taylor Banks had another big night with the bat, adding two hits Saturday to start the season 6-for-9. He also stole his second base of the year and pushed a run across the plate on an outfield single in the fifth. Caleb Eickhoff accounted for Marion's other runs, with 2 RBI. Eickhoff and Cody Scmitt each had two hits.

The Bobcats' pecked away at Railroader pitchers, spreading out their scores with runs in the 2nd through 7th inning. Aside from the 5th, when 2 runs were posted, each score was a single run.

Click here for box score, and follow each game play by play on GameChanger.

Medley and the Bobcats will next face their old manager, Steve Fowler, when they travel to Owensboro Wednesday.

Tradewater 9, Owensboro 8
The Pirates outlasted visiting Owensboro Saturday for a 9-8 win and a share of first place in the Ohio Valley League. Both Tradewater and Marion are 2-0 to start the year.

Southpaw gets start for Bobcats

Lefty Todd Brazell of Peyton, Colo. will take the hill for the Bobcats in tonight's second and final game of the season-opening series at Fulton. Game time is 7 p.m. at Lohaus Field and can be followed on Marion's GameChanger Internet app or on Fulton's live Teamline broadcast.

Brazell, a freshman with the Garden City Community College Broncbusters, was 5-3 in 16 appearances this spring for the Kansas school. He posted a 5.92 ERA, with 56 strikeouts in 65.1 innings of work.

Brazell led his college team in pick-offs, with five of the team's 13 in 2011. He also threw one complete game in 11 starts.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Bobcats start 2011 with win

It's starting to become a bit of a habit for the Bobcats.

Marion began the new season with a win Friday, defeating the Fulton Railroaders 7-1 at Lohaus Field. For the third year in a row, Marion starts the season with a perfect 1-0 record and a share of first place. Manager Kyle Medley was a closer for the Bobcats the last time the team opened with a loss. But that was four years ago, in the Marion's inaugural season. In 2011, it's a whole new ballgame.

Solid pitching. Good hitting. And flashy defense. All three were present for the Bobcats Friday.

"It was a good win for us. It's a tough place to win," Bobcats General Manager Gordon Guess said of Lohaus Field. "I think it's the best game we've had against Fulton... the best we've ever done against them."

Marion was 2-8 against the Railroaders in 2010, and have managed only eight wins in 30 games against the team all-time and only two in 14 contests at Lohaus Field.

On the mound for the Bobcats Friday, Josh Anders (1-0) pitched six innings of scoreless ball for the win, not even allowing a Fulton runner past second base. The Railroaders pushed their only run of the night by pushing run across the plate off Stephen Glaze, a side-armed hurler who came in to spell Anders o start the seventh. The run was unearned, though, coming off a Glaze error on a short grounder when his throw to first hit the runner. Chattahoochee Valley Community College products Daniel Szathmary and Matt Vollenwieder came in from the bullpen to finish the game for the Bobcats, each throwing an inning of scoreless ball.

"Our last two pitchers were dynamite," Guess said of the duo from the Phenix City, Ala. junior college.

All told, Marion's bullpen struck out six of the last nine batters it faced, including two by Glaze to close the door on Fulton's last real scoring threat of the night. Anders struck out five in his six innings of work.

At the plate, the Bobcats picked up where they left off last year, pushing across seven runs on 14 hits. Though the 2011 roster is void of any players from the previous season, the team's offense showed signs of last year's record-setting juggernaut, offering plenty of run support for the pitching staff, though it was hardly needed tonight.

Fulton starter Dylan Lynn (0-1) was the victim of Marion's offensive outburst, taking the loss off 2 runs in four innings of work.

Catcher Taylor Banks led the Bobcats offense, going 4-for-5 on the night and adding an RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base. Cody Schmitt contributed three hits and 2 RBI. A.J. Dokey had the only extra-base hit of the night for either team, scoring Banks in the top of the ninth. Outfielder Desmond Roberts was 0-for-3, but reached three times on a fielder's choice, walk and hit batsman.

In the field, Medley saw his team's defense sparkle, highlighted late in the game when third baseman Landon Weitekamp made a snazzy bare-handed pickup on a grounder to throw out the Fulton runner at first. Banks added his work behind the plate to defensive showing.

"He caught a helluva a defensive ballgame," Guess said. "He ran the game and did a good job. Of course, four hits doesn't hurt."

Perhaps the only blemish on the night was the 15 runners Marion left on base. It would not come back to haunt them, however, with tonight's performance from Anders and the bullpen showing little need for the extra runs.

Click here for tonight's box score.

Tradewater 8, Owensboro 3
Tradewater, winner of last year's KIT League regular season and playoff championship, started its Ohio Valley League membership with a win, putting the first tally on the scoreboard in the new league's history with a run in the first. The Pirates scattered 10 hits and took advantage of five Oiler errors to keep pace with Marion.

Former Marion and Tradewater manager Steve Fowler made his debut with the Oilers.

Bobcats open season at Fulton

The Bobcats open the inaugural season of the Ohio Valley League tonight at Fulton, with new manager Kyle Medley at the helm. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. at Lohaus Field. Several special events are planned for the evening, according to the Railroaders' Web site.

Medley will send Josh Anders to the mound for Marion. Anders, a sophomore at Frank Phillips College in Texas, was 2-4 with an 8.02 ERA during his sophomore year, pitching in 11 games. The right-hander threw 42.2 innings, striking out 25.

Elsewhere in the league, the Tradewater Pirates will host the Owensboro Oilers at Riverside Park in Dawson Springs beginning at 7 p.m.  Just last month, flooding from the Tradewater River put second base under as much as 6 feet of water, according to Marion General Manager Gordon Guess.

The Oilers are guided by former Bobcat manager Steve Fowler, who has also coached the Pirates. After Friday's game, he will have managed three of the four clubs in the league.

Both home teams in Friday's league action, the Railroaders and Pirates, are scheduled to broadcast their season openers on TeamLine over the Internet. Bobcat fans can access Friday's game online by clicking here. The Railroaders will also add updated box scores during home games for those fans listening online.

Bobcat fans unable to attend Friday's game can also follow it online through GameChanger. For the first time in the team's four-year history, Marion can be followed online for all games this season. To access GameChanger and sign up as a follower of the Bobcats, click on the above link.